ORLANDO, Fla. – The #1 seed Temple Owls had no trouble in dispatching the #9 seed USF Bulls as they advanced to the AAC Tournament semi-final with a 79-62 victory on Friday afternoon.
“Very good win for us. And happy to be here sitting here after a good first round victory,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said. “I thought we played fairly well throughout. I think McMurray’s a really hard guy to guard and I thought Josh Brown did a terrific job on him.”
Temple came out shooting 3-pointers to great success early on and did an excellent job of spreading the ball around. Four different players had makes from beyond the arc for the Owls before the 10 minute mark of the first half.
The Bulls were a bit sluggish to start the game, but a 9-0 run late in the first half helped get the game back within range. Junior Chris Perry followed up his strong performance against the East Carolina Pirates with 19 points and 8 rebounds.
“We held with [Temple], but on the offensive glass, that’s where they got us,” Perry said. “Big bodies versus big bodies, there’s going to be physicality. We matched it, but not on the offensive boards.”
Temple obliterated the Bulls on the glass with 15 offensive rebounds in the game which resulted in the Owls scoring 19 second chance points.
Senior forward Jaylen Bond for the Owls found space to shoot all over the floor in the first half and eventually finishing with 17 points while creating defensive mismatches all game against the Bulls. Bond’s 6-foot-8 presence on the wing cut into the Bulls’ zone with ease which eventually opened up space for their 3-point shooters in the second half.
“I know my time here is winding down, so I’m trying to give them 100 percent effort to finish out my season strong for me and my teammates,” Bond said.
The game really got out of hand when Temple went on a 12-2 run midway through the second half which extended their lead to 20 points. Sophomore Obi Enechionyia, despite being in foul trouble for most of the game, maximized his limited minutes with 13 points and 5 rebounds.
“I think we have a lot of fight,” Enechionyia said. “In the regular season we would have games where we would be down 10, 12, 15 in the second half and we would be able to come back and win that game.”
Temple will move on to face the winner of the Cincinnati/UConn game in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Photo by Edward Fabara/The Skyboat